Scores injured in strike
Scores of people were injured as violence raged across the country yesterday, the last of a three-day strike called by opposition activists in a bid to pressure Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to resign. The Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries expressed concern over the latest crisis that has killed at least 15 people since the weekend and urged both the government and opposition to resolve disputes through dialogue. Homemade bombs exploded in parts of the country yesterday, injuring a police official in the capital, said Sheikh Maruf Hasan, a Dhaka Metropolitan official.
Abhisit vows legal fight
Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday vowed to fight any legal charges against them for their alleged role in the death of anti-government demonstrators during a bloody 2010 crackdown. Prosecutors announced on Monday that they would indict the pair for their alleged role in the death of some of the 90 people, mostly protesters. Abhisit told reporters that he and Suthep are innocent in part because a Bangkok city court ruled at the time that the protest, which had shut down a vast swath of downtown Bangkok for more than two months, was unlawful. “We will not run away. We are confident in our innocence,” he said.
Cadre suspended for bills
A Chinese Communist Party official has been suspended after running up unpaid bills of US$115,000 at a specialty pig trotter restaurant, media reports said on Monday. Han Junhong, the party secretary in Wangluo, Henan Province, racked up the 700,450 yuan account with a series of banquets over three years, the Global Times said, adding the establishment was the designated venue for official functions in the town. Owner Geng Weijie was forced to close his doors because of the cash shortfall, and resorted to hanging red banners outside to shame Han into paying up. “I am seriously ill, I have a small child, and my family has debts to pay,” the Beijing News quoted Geng, 42, as saying. The bill was paid the next day, and Han suspended, the Global Times said.
Drone strike kills militant
A senior militant in charge of suicide attacks for al-Shabaab rebels has been killed in a drone strike in southern Somalia, a Somalian government official said yesterday. Interior Minister Abdikarin Hussein Guled told government radio that the intelligence services have been tracking Ibrahim Ali Abdi, also known as Anta-Anta, for some time before the strike took place on Monday. The minister did not say who carried out the attack, but an official in Washington said the US army carried out a drone strike targeting al-Shabaab in Somalia on Monday.
Abbott visits Afghanistan
Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared the nation’s longest war at an end during a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Monday, with more than 1,000 troops to return home before Christmas in a “bitter-sweet” withdrawal. “Australia’s longest war is ending, not with victory, not with defeat, but with, we hope, an Afghanistan that’s better for our presence here,” Abbott said at the Australian Defence Force mission in Uruzgan Province. In an official statement released yesterday, Abbott said the mission had been critical to national security. “We have ... worked with our allies to make the world a safer place,” he said.
Mining hurts Amazon: study
Skyrocketing gold prices have fueled an illegal mining rush that has tripled the rate of deforestation in the Amazon since 2008, researchers said on Monday. The findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences were made with a combination of satellite data, laser technology to map vegetation and on-the-ground surveys. “The rate of forest destruction is huge,” said Greg Asner, a tropical ecologist with the Carnegie Institution for Science. Illegal mining increased by 400 percent between 1999 and last year, particularly after the global financial collapse led to a boom in the price of gold, seen as a more durable asset. More than half of all mining operations in the Peruvian Amazon are done by clandestine operations.
Gunmen steal US$54 million
Gunmen attacked a central bank van on Monday, stealing US$54 million. LANA news agency said “10 heavily armed men” had made off with the funds, which were destined for the central bank branch in Sirte, and had been flown there from Tripoli. Citing a source from the local branch of the central bank, LANA said that the gunmen stole “53 million Libyan dinars” (US$42 million) and another US$12 million in US dollars and euros. The gunmen attacked the van on the road between Sirte airport and the town itself, 500km east of Tripoli, LANA said, without saying if there had been any casualties. Only one security vehicle had been assigned to protect the van, and the agency said the guards “were unable to resist the 10 attackers.”
Lang Lang in UN peace role
Pianist Lang Lang (郎朗) became a UN Messenger of Peace on Monday, a role he called more important than his music because it can help improve the lives of children around the world through education. Being a Messenger of Peace is the highest honor bestowed by a UN chief on accomplished individuals in any field. Lang Lang, 31, said he was “really awed” by his new role and the responsibility that comes with it.
Alleged hacker arrested
A British man has been charged in the US with hacking into thousands of computer systems, including those of the US Army and NASA, in an alleged attempt to steal confidential data. Lauri Love, 28, is accused of causing millions of dollars of damage to the US government with a year-long hacking campaign waged from his home in Stradishall, Suffolk. Love was arrested on Friday by the National Crime Agency, dubbed “Britain’s FBI,” after an international investigation led by the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. His arrest was announced on Monday.
Kid tracker apps launched
Parents worried about letting their children go trick-or-treating at Halloween can download new apps that track kids and send alerts when they venture outside designated safe areas. With the free iPhone app Track ’n Treat, children send a time-limited link of their location via a phone number or e-mail. This then allows parents to track their whereabouts via a Web browser for the next four hours. Another free app, Family GPS Tracker for iPhone and Android, not only lets parents see where their children are in real-time, but also sends alerts when a child strays outside of an set area. Life360, another free app for iPhone and Android, lets family members view each others’ location on a map and keep in touch via group messaging.